Sleepless in Setiawangsa VII

Bapak Luqman (the term I use whenever we have conflicting opinions) suffers from obsession to decorate our new house. The problem is we have a small budget but expensive desire. Last weekend was dedicated to searching for hob, hood and oven for the new kitchen. Mind you, these are foreign vocabularies for yours truly. I haven’t the faintest idea what these items are for except that they are meant to produce a meal. One thing I do know: the prices for these items are “sky-rocket high!”

So off we went – Luqman, Bapak Luqman and I – to the shop in Damansara Utama. Bapak Luqman strode ahead in confidence armed with his knowledge in house decor to meet the shop assistant, who could not speak Bahasa or English. I know for a fact that he was pissed off with my lackadaisical attitude on matters at hand. In my defense, I think, it is best to remain silent when you have scant knowledge in this department.  

As my husband conversed in earnest with the shop assistant, I feigned craziness by chasing Luqman around the shop. Honestly, what is up with this child? He can’t walk, I tell you, he can only run. If you asked me, mothers don’t need to sign up for gym-membership. They exercise fine by chasing their children around the clock.

Back to this kitchen thing; the shop assistant, somehow, found it imperative to include me in picking up the right oven for us. She looked at me straight in the eyes before asking me sweetly, “kakak nak guna apa dengan oven nih, nak buat roast chicken ker, nak grill ke atau nak masak kek atau biskut jer? Itu timer you nak ke?

[Translation: “What do you need to cook with this oven? Do you want to make roast chicken or grill something? Or do you just want to bake cake and cookies only? Do you want the timer?“]

My whole world came crashing down before me. Prior to this awkward moment, I never needed an oven in my modest life. Heck, the farthest I have gone since marriage and motherhood is to buy a decent set of plates for the family. I sometimes buy pieces of cutlery and glasses “out of sheer nothing to do” while in the shopping malls. And now, this sales person wants to know what I want to do with my oven? Oh dear…

I was speechless. Silence echoed in the shop. I swear to God I could see Bapak Luqman chuckling in amusement at my uneasiness. The nerve of this man! Shortly thereafter – perhaps out of pity – he saved me by picking the oven himself. Phew! That was rare being asked such a tricky question!

The whole episode dawns on me as my utmost flaw in life. I can’t cook. Period. I lack both interest and skill in the kitchen, so why bother? I cast a glance at my young son who was blowing bubbles from his mouth at me. I am beginning to feel real sorry for the little fellow; he sure wants his mom to cook something for him, if not now, in the future. I want him to be able to bring his friends over the house to enjoy good home-cooked meal. I also want him to brag to his friends about his mother’s culinary skill the way his father does.

There you go; I find my 2008’s resolution now – that is to learn how to cook a decent meal for Luqman and his father. Now if you excuse me, I am going to watch Asian Food Channel just like Bergen.

Oh, but I sure want that Fisher & Paykel refrigerator. It’s so gorgeous…


20 thoughts on “Sleepless in Setiawangsa VII

  1. my one and only contribution that i would give in picking household appliaces is the colour of the items. i don’t care about the brand, how high-tech it is so long as they match the colour of the kitchen, i’m happy.


    there you go, speaking like a true woman! Bravo

  2. Hmmm… looks like- the SiS Serials is fast heading the way of GUiT and TWB. I think you got something here, Elv and you know where this will all lead; the dream of a book. GUiT’s done, TWB is on the way and your’s next. Yeaaah!

    This writing suits you Elv and legions of your fans here come here for this.

    You can’t cook! LoL! Just like me.. err but I got an excuse. I live on rigs so I got professionals to do the job.

    I think I know how you feel. I really feel jealous when I see my male friends who can cook and play the suami mithali. You won’t believe this but I visited a friend in Kota Damansara (same street as where shah cakapje lives in fact) some months back and he appeared at the door with a baby on one hip and a ladle in one hand. His wife was recuperating from ceasarian and his maid had gone back to east Java for Raya, and I silently said to myself, ‘I can never do that’. And this guy is a successful businessman…

    Perhaps I should started a series called “Clueless in Tesco” or something like that. Because I really am clueless when it comes to these things. I can’t tell the names of fish, sayur… arrrrghhh.. 😦

    Dear Clueless in Tesco,

    I hate to burst your bubble bro, but you probably be the only one wanting to buy the book. Hahahahhaah! I know, it is a hard task to do isnt it?

  3. salam to sis Elviza,
    Wah!congratulation what a good start for this year ,new house kitchen..with new hob,hood and oven…happy cooking.
    Ajak Luqman skali masak.Sure both of you will enjoy it.

    Thank you doc… Alhamdullilah…

  4. Hahahah… Meh datang umah kita masak2. Luqman boleh main masak2 dgn Amin and Ammar.. or 3 of them boleh buat concert ketuk2 periuk 🙂


    Pah tuh diorang main ketuk2 periuk, mak2 berborak instead of masak? Best kan?

  5. Sis Elviza,

    I second Mat Salo that SiS is worthy of a book form. Enjoy reading your quirks.

    If you ever cross examine me, I will answer you with a question, “Are you frying or grilling me, Counsel?” Just can’t stop laughing at your expense.

    Can see Bapak Luqman very kind to step in on your behalf. Can imagine your body language
    wriggling out of the dilemma.

    You are adorable cos you are human.


    Now I am laughing reading this comment of yours…

  6. Elvi, I love the way you tell your stories.

    I was hopeless in kitchen too!! but God had His plans to change me. He sent me to a land full of sheeps, away from the comfort of nasi campur & kedai mamak… and after countless on-the-phone-tutoring from Mak & googling recipes, I think I’ve jumped from ‘F’ to ‘C+’.

    Now good luck to you!

    The flat I’m renting is fully furnished with everything F&P, tapi lower end model aje la 🙂

    Dear Ubisetela,

    Fuhhh the whole kitchen is F&P? Hebat. I think living abroad usually make someone a good cook dont ya think?

  7. Elviza,

    To be honest, the only housework that I don’t mind doing is cooking… but of course my style and my way.

    I know how you feel. I’m so bad when it comes to decorating the house. I just don’t know what matches with what and all. Same goes for ironing. Never can get the shirts nicely ironed.


    Shhhhhhh, dont tell anyone, I am bad in all department – cooking, ironing, cleaning. Arghhhhh

  8. Kak Elviza,
    The only thing I can do in the kitchen is……hahaha, you guessed right! Yep, I know howto eat hahaha. And the dishes, you can rely that one on me hahaha. I tried cooking, and the best I can come out with tanak nasi, fried eggs and menyibuk 🙂
    Hey your SiS is a great artwork la kak.
    Have a nice day.


    Heh samalah kita – saya pun selalu menyibuk jer kat dapur, pah tuh kena halau! You have a nice day too. Jgn ponteng class! Okaylah, ponteng class boleh gak sekali sekala, but never ponteng tutorial you hear me?

  9. So, now you know what those gadgets they put in the kitchen are for. That’s a good start!

    Life in a faraway land with a limited biasiswa helped me a lot. Atleast I know how to cook sardines (about 5 versions) and you will not believe what you can come up with man’s greatest invention – maggi mee. I lost count.

    But I know that I am not that bad. No one is dead yet because of the food that I hidangkan for them. Even if it happens, I’ll just blame that makcik at the pasar malam. I only panaskan…

    You are the quintessential modern woman sis. I am gonna take it with a pinch of salt and let you know what happens to my cooking journey. 🙂

  10. funnylah this posting elviza, that question asked by thesalesgirl really changed your entire life in 2008…hehe..

    ada oven lagi senang, ‘soap’ the chicken with herbs (ginger + garlic) and salts and throw it into the oven. Dah! And another 45 minutes you can still play bubbles with Luqman.

    And of course after some time, Bapak Luqman will mumble to himself behind your back,

    “balik balik roast chicken..balik balik roast chicken”……

    Eh Dr. Bubble,

    You make cooking sounds so easy man. I like it… if the mumble things like that, I ll smack their heads! Heh…

  11. Elviza,
    I have learnt from experience that the hood and a three burner hob is more than enough. For the oven a convection oven and an a microwave oven is all that I need in the kitchen. Very often the oven below the hob is a waste of space and rarely used, unless you bake cakes or bisquits very often. If its just for the Raya occassion, its a surplus.
    As to the cost, there are various types that will suit every budget. Quality and size has it price of course.
    Many people missed the hood which to me is important to keep the walls and ceiling clean from fumes of the cooking oil when frying.
    Now with those equipments Jefferi bought why not you learn to cook? Its a joy when produce something and people appreciate it, even if it is just to please you hahahaha.
    Nobody was born a cook.

    Dear Pak,

    Typical nasihat bapak2 pagi ini! 🙂 I am determined to learn to cook Pak, will let you know the result thereof.

  12. Hi Elviza

    Two weeks back, we were shopping for an oven for our new house. 🙂 All I wanted was an oven that allows me to cook (stove top) broil and bake. (I used the bake function for roasting meats). My husband decided on a GE Profile double door oven. It serves its purpose. And as long as my cooking does not put anyone in the E.R., I am happy :P.

    My new oven does give me a little more inspiration to try new things. (hoping it will do the same for you). I will try new stuff as soon as I get over the tiredness of moving.

    I think Fisher & Paykel have some cool appliances. They have come up with a dishwasher that functions like a drawer. We did not get that but it is on our wishlist (*crossing fingers* … someday). I will make do with what I have for now.

    A dishwasher? Damn thats a new idea (again, I never needed one before). I hope I get inspired too Sis! I let you know

  13. Dear Mak Luqman
    Kecik-kecik dulu takde main masak-masak ke?

    Dear Pi,

    Tak… kita naik beskal, panjat pokok, main pangkah guli, main sorok2… mana main masak-masak nih! Heh…

  14. Salam Sis Elviza:

    Where is this shop in Damansara Utama?Whats the salesgirls name? Nak kena pulas telinga budak tu!How dare she ask such a question to you.Jaga dia…..

    You’ve got to have the love and interest to cook. And the opportunity to do so.

    There are many wives out there who doesn’t know how to cook,so there’s nothing to worry or be ashamed of sis.

    Can Bapak Luqman cook? If he can and does cook on and off then its worth buying the whatever hood,hob or hub or oven or grillers etc. If he doesn’t cook and you don’t cook, then why get those appliances? Might as well buy something else like Blu-ray player or a new plasma TV( heh3…jarum …jarum…).

    When my wife was working in KT, there was a period when my in-laws and my maid went there for a week. I was with Hafiz in Melaka. For lunch I usually take him to a restaurant or warong for nasi campur.But for dinner, I wanted to try my non-existing culinary skills( and membayangkan I was a good one like Chef Wan).

    Cooking the rice was no problem, for I had instructions from the maid via phne and a friend’s wife.
    For 2 nights I wanted to fry chicken and eggs. On both occassions the chicken and eggs was transformed into something similar t charcoal!
    I had to take Hafiz out. The next few nights I cooked what I do best. Maggi mee!!

    So,if you can do Maggi mee, then you are okay.Luqman’s friends can come to your home and you can serve them Maggie.Remember in the 80s there was this Maggi ad that goes like this: “Mak!Dah balik. Nak makan!”

    Salam Bro,

    Eh, you ni TA hebatlah, you can read my mind. Of course, I thought the plasma TV would be more worth it; only to be frowned upon by J. But I am sure if I wait longer the price will be decreased right? You reckon so? (I am talking about the plasma TV by the way)

  15. salam sis,
    alamak, sebenaqnyakan, tujuan memblog ni pasal nak lari dari topik harian ni lah. that is why i cari rakan-rakan blogger yang tak pandai masak macam you! heeheehee…

    but i love that industrial look punya kitchen. thanks for sharing elviza!

    Salam E,

    Ooooo… macam gitu ker? Industrial look kitchen? I think cannot lah because my house too small. Ahaks!

  16. Bapak Luqman? Trouble in paradise I see…hehehe…

    My mom once told me she was a terrible cook until she married my dad and moved in to live with mother-in-law (my grandma). Maybe you should try this method, it could do the trick and in 3 months time you might just give Nigella a run for her money…hihi…

    Kerp Bro,

    Paradise my foot lah! He he he he. I’d be surte to try your darling mom’s method. Tempting…very tempting indeed.

  17. Hi there elviza.

    Most childhood memories are triggered by the sense of smell, though there were a lot of smells went through our nostrils during our childhood years, the one that we remember most usually the cooking done by our mother.

    However, in this modern days where men are more apt in the kitchen most children would probably remember the smell of what daddy was preparing for them on the stove (including those extra ‘crisp’ taste).

    I am in cahoot with tokasid above, as long as you can prepare maggi for Luqman and his friends you will be okay. Those memories of having maggi prepared by you would always be entrenched in the boy’s heart forever.

    Love reading your piece, elviza

    Dear Madredo1,

    Oh cooking maggi counts? That means I can cook already. Hah! Thank you for making me feel so much better.

  18. Dear Mish…

    So…I can give you a cooking book as a gift, huh? Maybe the American cookbook that I have, I can pass to you…what do you think?

    Love this entry…for now I now that you are just a simple, adorable woman…muah, muah, muah…

    Dear Darling,

    Cooking book? Tak pe tak pe… let me try AFC first, then phone calls to mom in law and bugging my mom 24-7. Glad to hear you are well and healthy now sister!

  19. Hi Elv,
    I’m a terrible cook before being SAHM. The only thing I can and love to cook is maggie with lots of fishballs…
    After DH and I moved to some place you cant imagined to live in, not even in the world map 10 years ago, I managed to learn step-by-step 123 cooking art… I began to enjoy it more and more as DH started to appreciate my “OKlah” cooking… After 4 years, I can master lamb curry, chicken rice, beriyani and everybody’s favorite sup tulang… ( ni kes angkat bakul…LOL!)
    Dont worry sis, cooking is just like driving a car. once you master the clutch and gear ( if you’re driving manual la), it’s really smooth sailing…. Let me tell you one secret to a successful cook… let the maid do all the cutting…. LOL! LOL!


    I can drive a manual transmission car. Does this mean that I can end up being a good cook?? Ho ho ho 🙂

    And where is this place I cannot imagine you live in? Try me

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